The Founders Of P.E Nation On: The Future Of Athleisure

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Since its launch in 2016, Australian-based athleisure brand P.E Nation has enjoyed rapid growth within a booming global market that’s valued at more than $300 billion

By tapping into broader apparel trends, its recognisable style of street-meets-sportswear, technical activewear, retro-inspired streetwear, and more recently, performance snow gear, have managed to captivate consumers despite the onslaught of competition within the category.

A groundbreaking collaboration with international retailer H&M, meanwhile, has helped propel the startup into the mainstream market and put it on the map as a truly global brand. Its distinctive line of colour-blocked leggings, sports bras and signature tanks quickly sold out in multiple markets across the world, as consumers rushed to get their hands on exclusive pieces at more accessible price-points. 

But as the brand continues to scale, in addition to generating more exposure for its design-led athleisure, P.E Nation has another ambition. At the start of 2020, the company announced its commitment towards sustainability, outlining its journey towards producing more conscious apparel. And its intention to implement even more meaningful and sustainable business practices, in order to reduce its impact on the environment, across every aspect of production, right through to packaging and delivery.

The brand has since raised the benchmark with a conscious snow collection that it says represents a new frontier for the business.

Perfectly positioned to leverage the changes in behaviours and lifestyles resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, P.E Nation has found itself leading the charge when it comes to pioneering the next generation of leisurewear and comfort dressing — a trend that’s become commonplace within this new era of working-from-home.

Here, co-founders Pip Edwards and Claire Tregoning discuss how they’re designing athleisure that speaks to the needs of consumers in the here and now, why adopting a change-maker mentality is key and what they believe the future of athleisure will really look like……

On moving towards a more conscious approach……

CT: Our planet needs us to be better, and as a business, we want to do better. So, while we do our best to implement change across our office culture, packaging, fabric, collections and commitment on a personal level, we are also making huge efforts daily in all facets of the business to be more sustainable and ethical, with clear sustainability goals for now and into the future. 

We’re integrating sustainability and adopting a change-maker mentality into the topics of daily business here at P.E Nation.

On the decision to release a sustainable ski collection…….

CT: We are long time ski lovers and in fact, the first jacket we ever designed was based on a retro ski vibe aesthetic, so it was only natural to progress into the snow category — particularly as we live and breathe our brand and only do what comes organically and speaks to our lifestyles. 

However, what was most important for us was to take a planet stance and have this conscious collection be fully sustainable, and to be one of the pioneers in making this change for the category. It’s a trend we would like to see continue. 

On launching a new collection digitally during a pandemic…….

PE: The innovation around our SNOW launch was an exciting opportunity for P.E Nation to push tech-use toward a more sustainable future; to digitally reinvent and showcase P.E Nation and our SNOW line in an innovative way; to produce digital products that function, respond and behave as they would in physical spaces; and to re-imagine our seasonal launch by bringing the social escape of the ski slopes to our customers. 

We’re living and working within a new societal normcore on a global scale, products are no longer limited to curated imagery and look books, but rather experiences that have augmented the way our customers interact and engage with them.

The Founders Of P.E Nation On: The Future Of Athleisure

Image: P.E Nation

On tapping into inclusivity through unisex pieces……

PE: We knew for quite some time that men were buying into women’s sweats and hoodies, so it made sense to finally dedicate a portion of the business to a unisex category where the fits were designed to cater for men, but are to be worn by all. 

At a time where inclusivity, and supporting the community is key, it’s so awesome to now offer products to suit men and women, of varying ages, and invite them to be a part of our PE community. 

We welcome teens, we welcome men, we welcome all who want to be comfortable yet fashionable, and who support sustainable pursuits. It really is for everyone.

On the future of athleisure…….

PE: Leisurewear and comfort dressing, i.e. living in tracksuits, hoodies and sweatpants, has become the new normal, especially as the pandemic forced the globe to all live and work from home, thus amplifying the need and want for comfort. 

This lifestyle shift has created a very level playing field and a whole new level of appreciation for being in relaxed apparel — comprising of oversized styles that are gender irrelevant. 

The future is all about functional fashion, and that’s here to stay. Fashion now has to play to real life and what people need and want right now.

CT: The global pandemic has now amplified the global need and want for comfort and quality in this category. Our lifestyles have shifted significantly, and our collections speak to that exactly. 

Athleisure has always been our game – we have always offered sweats, tracksuits and hoodies from the launch of our first collection. It’s now the new UNI-form that the globe is accustomed to. 

On what’s next for P.E Nation…….

P.E: It really is business as usual. Our product offering is definitely finding a purpose in our new way of life. Now more than ever, people need to feel comfortable, supported, and purposeful, with a fashion edge.

Our main adjustment to the business is in fostering and building meaningful communication that can relate to what our audience is going through. It’s about connecting with our community and raising their vibration and finding positivity in between the current global challenges. 

We need to stimulate them to encourage fitness, wellbeing, and innovation. It’s about building depth and more meaningful product in our existing categories…more unisex, more performance, more fashion, more swim, more snow!

It’s all about a life in motion and how we can improve and enhance the functional and fashionable aspect of movement in our lives, we all want to move forward with ease and confidence.

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